Despite unreasonable criticism from environmental lobbies, President Obama’s announcement Friday that his administration would put draft ozone regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency on hold until 2013 represents a sound public policy decision.

It’s understandable that groups organized to promote a particular set of government actions are disappointed (though some seem to verge on outrage) that a political leader they thought supported their position takes a step they view as opposing it.

But they are expressing a subjective view of both the decision and the proposed policy changes that are in question.

Viewed more objectively, as Obama and his economic advisers appear to be doing, the new ozone rules, which were designed to control ground-level pollution that creates “smog,” contained the potential to do as much harm to the economy as they promised to do good for the atmosphere.

That’s because any rule imposes costs on those mandated to obey it, and forcing businesses to spend money on technology (or close down if they can’t afford to spend it) would directly affect the ability of those companies to hire new workers. Indeed, the added costs could lead to layoffs of ones currently employed.

Besides, as Obama pointed out, the draft rules haven’t been cast aside. They had actually been created outside the normal schedule for review, which runs on five-year intervals and was last adjusted in 2006.

But the groups, unhappy with the results of that procedure, pressed for new rules sooner than the scheduled 2013 date.

That original schedule has now been restored, and wisely so, considering the potential impacts of the draft rules on an economy in which jobs are not increasing at all (as Department of Labor figures that were announced Friday clearly demonstrated).

As the president noted: “Work is already under way to update a 2006 review of the science that will result in a reconsideration of the ozone standard in 2013. Ultimately, I did not support asking state and local governments to begin implementing a new standard that will soon be reconsidered.”

Some are questioning whether other pending EPA rules on CO2 emissions and other air- and water-related matters could also be postponed.

Perhaps they should be, perhaps not — but that has no effect on this decision, which is clearly the right one.